By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 8, 2010; A03
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin did not discount a 2012 presidential campaign on Sunday.
The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee said she would run, "if I believed that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family. Certainly, I would do so." She said it would be "absurd" to rule it out.
Palin has never flatly ruled out running for the White House. Since her campaign with Sen. John McCain, she has established a political action committee, written a best-selling memoir, and steered the subsequent book tour to traditional swing states and areas with a predominantly Republican-leaning electorate. She has also joined Fox News Channel as a paid contributor and has given several speeches. Her keynote address Saturday night at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville netted her a reported $100,000.
She admires the populist group's efforts because members are seeking "common sense solutions," but said she did not want to lead the tea-party movement.
"This is much bigger than a -- than a hockey mom from Wasilla. It's much bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter. It's -- it is the people's movement, it's about the people, and I'm proud to be a part of this," she said on "Fox News Sunday."
Palin said President Obama could improve his reelection chances if he "played the war card" by declaring war on Iran or expressing stronger support for Israel.
"There wouldn't be as much passion to make sure that he doesn't serve another four years," Palin said.
If the president continues on the path he's on today, "he's not going to win" as an incumbent candidate in 2012, Palin said. Americans are becoming frustrated, because Obama "expects us to sit down and shut up and accept" his policies.
Asked specifically which policies, Palin said Obama has been condescending with his "general personality."
Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse dismissed the former governor's comments, saying she "continues to just make stuff up.
"It's sad that the only way Sarah Palin and Republicans can weigh in on the important debate of the day is to make stuff up out of whole cloth," Woodhouse said.
But Republicans said Palin remains a serious party leader who will draw new supporters to the GOP.
"I find her to be a pretty compelling figure and someone who, obviously, resonated very strongly in that room in Nashville," said former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie. He said he expects the tea-party movement will have a significant impact on this year's midterm elections as it attracts converts to the political process.
"They are not Republicans or Democrats, many of them at this point. They're leery of both parties. But their overwhelming concerns are about debt and spending and government intervention in our economy and higher taxes. And I think at the end of the day, as they look at the candidates for them in November, they're going to end up voting for the Republican candidate," Gillespie said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Palin stumped on Sunday for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who faces a Republican primary challenge next month from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.).
"At the very mention of her name, the liberals, the progressives, the media elites, they literally foam at the mouth," Perry said at a campaign rally in suburban Houston. "Sarah literally inspires millions of people with her values, her spunk."
Staff writer Michael A. Fletcher contributed to this report.